Our plan today was to visit Kensington Palace, The Design Museum and do a bit of wandering.
We cheated and decided to start the day by catching a taxi from Paddington Basin to Kensington Palace as when you add up four train fares it is only slightly more than a comfortable ride in a taxi. Add in the fact that it is always fun to have a ride in a quintessential London cab.
The palace is currently the official London residence of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, the Duke and Duchess of Kent, and Prince and Princess Michael of Kent.
Like every other site we have wanted to visit, we had booked online the night before. You booked a time slot and then they took that group into the palace. Luckily today it was not that busy.
We were very surprised to find out that you could take photos inside the state rooms. There were three sections to the visit but what we found most interesting was the section where you saw the rooms where Queen Victoria grew up as a child. She had a very suffocating childhood as her mother wanted to make sure she lived long enough to become Queen and she closeted her in Kensington Palace up until the age of 18. Victoria was not even allowed to walk downstairs unless she was escorted, in case she fell down them.
There was an additional aside where they had a photo exhibition of the very earliest photos going back to Victoria and Albert, to the current ones of the Queens Platinum Jubilee this year.
It was a lot of fun to do the tour with Marlene and Wolfgang and of course there is that very strong connection with the English Royal family to the German Hanoverians.
Today just happened to be the 25th anniversary of the death of the Princess of Wales. There were a number of people outside the gates where all the floral tributes were laid back in 1997.
What we felt was just, was us taking a photo of the paparazzi who hounded the poor woman to her death. Even in death she is not allowed to be at peace.
It was then a 20-minute walk along Kensington High Street to the Design Museum.
We spent just over an hour here looking at everything from collapsible wheelchair wheels to 3D printing.
It was after the Design Museum where we split off as couples. We caught a double decker bus to the end of Hyde Park to Buckingham Palace.
This is the Canada Gate which is situated on the South side of Green Park and was a gift from Canada as part of the memorial to Queen Victoria. The gate was installed in 1911 and includes the crests of six Canadian Provinces.
It was a little tricky trying to take any photos of the palace as the sun was in the wrong direction.
The Queen Victoria Memorial which sits directly in front of Buckingham Palace was looking very resplendent after its recent tub up. She reigned for 63 years and has probably had more statues erected of her than any other monarch – she certainly wasn’t shy in coming forward.
The view looking from the statue down the Mall towards Admiralty Arch.
It was also good to see Big Ben in the distance looking spruced up since the five-year restoration work that has been carried out. We were here in 2016 when Big Ben sounded for the last time before the work started. We hopefully will get a chance to have a closer look in the next week when we are staying with Karen and Miles and doing some more touristy things.
We made our way back to the boat on foot which took us almost an hour. It was so nice to wander through Hyde Park amongst the magnificent trees which provided much needed shade from the sun. We had best make the best of the sun as next week it is looking downright miserable and wet.
On our return to the boat, we made our way out to dinner with Wolfgang and Marlene. We still do not have any positive news about the lock being repaired further down the Regents Canal which is preventing us in ticking off a huge Bucket List item, not just for us but also for Wolfgang and Marlene.